27 January 09 | Chad W. Post

I think I speak for all the panelists when I say that this was a pretty difficult task. I think we all had 13-15 books that we felt deserved to be in the top 10 . . . But in the end, I think we came up with a very solid list. For additional info about any of these titles, click on the links below, or visit the pretty minisite complete with cover images and additional information about the February 19th party to announce the winners.

Many thanks to all the publishers who sent us copies of the books, to everyone who’s written about this award or read any of the overviews we’ve written, and to all of the panelists (who are listed in detail below).

So here goes:

  • Tranquility by Attila Bartis, translated from the Hungarian by Imre Goldstein (Archipelago) (Overview)
  • 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) (Overview)
  • Voice Over by Céline Curiol, translated from the French by Sam Richard (Seven Stories) (Overview)
  • Yalo by Elias Khoury, translated from the Arabic by Peter Theroux (Archipelago) (Overview)
  • Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya, translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver (New Directions) (Overview)
  • Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra, translated from the Spanish by Carolina De Robertis (Melville House) (Overview)

At the February 19th event at Melville House Books—which will be hosted by Francisco Goldman—we’ll announce the two runners-up and the winner for both the poetry and fiction categories. And you’re all invited, so hopefully we’ll see you there . . .

This year’s panelists included Monica Carter, bookseller at Skylight Books and editor of Salonica ; Steve Dolph, editor of CALQUE ; Scott Esposito, editor of Conversational Reading and The Quarterly Conversation ; Brandon Kennedy, bookseller at Spoonbill & Sugartown ; Michael Orthofer, editor of the Literary Saloon and Complete Review ; Chad W. Post, director of Open Letter Books and this blog ; E.J. Van Lanen, senior editor of Open Letter Books and Three Percent; and Jeff Waxman, bookseller at the Seminary Co-op Bookstores and editor of The Front Table.

UPDATE: To view or download the official press release, click here.


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